The Strategist

Easy Scrum techniques to create productive working environment

09/27/2019 - 07:36

Is it possible to turn the work environment into a productivity tool? Definitely yes, and Scrum will help to figure this out.
Some may decide it’s silly to say “Good morning!”, especially on a cold, gray Monday morning. “We are damned engineers, not sellers of soap bubbles!”

Imagine that you came to visit a friend, but he muttered something incomprehensible instead of greeting, flopped down on the sofa and sit in silence. How would you feel in such a situation? You would probably be annoyed.

On the contrary, a smile and a sincere “How are you?” help feel that you are among friends, contribute to a more productive and lively mood.

Little things like a friendly greeting in the morning can seriously affect how the team will work, and will prompt the team players to interact with each other. It is very important to make sure that all your colleagues are full of energy and are inspired by the upcoming work.

We spend most of our lives at work, and communication with colleagues takes more time than talks with parents, spouses, and children. Do we really need to create a grave environment in the office then? The good news is: there are a few simple (and inexpensive) ways to maintain team satisfaction.

Working environment

You have probably heard of the unusual setting of Google offices. If yes, you might be genuinely surprised at the costs of office furniture and equipment, which, according to many, are more suitable for a children's playground than for the office of a reputable company.

“Do people really work there or just fool around all day?” say those who work in the corporate world of gloomy offices, similar to factories of the industrial era.

Nowadays, technology companies understand that it is really possible to do complex work while enjoying the work environment. This does not mean that you need to buy colorful bean bags, lava lamps and put down the slides. However, the desire to turn the work environment into something like a comfortable home should not be seen as a whim or a fad. This is a meaningful goal!

Scrum is focused on an interactive environment that promotes openness, so consider the list below as the foundation of a favorable working environment:
  • A large white board and walls where you can place task boards and related items;
  • Plenty of light;
  • Open space for each team with small partitions separating the area of one team from another;
  • A small round table for discussions;
  • Do Not Disturb areas, where team members could take a rest and reflect quietly; there should be enough space to walk, and there should also be a table;
  • Isolated areas for personal telephone conversations;
  • A buffer zone that protects against the noisiest divisions of the company - the sales department and the customer service department, where employees talk on the phone most of the time.

A proposal by developers to implement the latest and greatest technology should not be seen as a gesture of generosity. Do you think carpenters consider a sharp chisel a luxury? No, this is a necessary working tool.

An interesting example: developers who are offered the latest and most productive equipment see this as a huge advantage for themselves. As software observer Joel Spolsky points out, programmers are easy to bribe by providing them with the coolest and most modern hardware. This is a much cheaper way to get them to work for you than a competitive salary!

This is not an appeal to pay less or campaigning for savings on salaries and bonuses. There’s something different: just provide good tools instead of old used equipment. Not only will you make your employees happier, but will also improve overall productivity!

Based on "Scrum Shortcuts Without Cutting Corners. Agile Tactics, Tools & Tips" by Ilan Goldstein

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